Chairmanship of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) passed to the Republic of Uzbekistan
TEHRAN (Iran News) The meeting, chaired by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, was also attended by the Presidents of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, the Islamic Republic of Iran Ibrahim Raisi, the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Arif Alvi, the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, the Turkish Republic Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin and Secretary General of ECO Khusrav Noziri.
The issues of further expanding multilateral partnerships aimed at strengthening the ECO as a dynamic organization, deepening cooperation between its member states in the areas of trade, transport and communication interconnection, industrial cooperation, green energy and tourism were the main topics on the agenda of the meeting.
Speaking at the summit, Sh.M.Mirziyoyev congratulated Turkmenistan on the successful chairmanship of the organization and noted the importance of the adoption in September 2021 of the UN General Assembly Resolution “On cooperation between the UN and ECO”.
“Our fraternal peoples, which are united by a common history and religion, similar customs and traditions, have been closely linked since ancient times by trade and cultural ties. Since its inception, the Organization for Economic Cooperation has turned into a large regional structure with enormous economic potential,”- the President of Uzbekistan said.
According to him, Uzbekistan stands for the further development of comprehensive relations within the organization.
Drawing attention to the international and regional situation, economic difficulties in the context of the ongoing pandemic, Shavkat Mirziyoyev made a number of specific proposals on priority areas of cooperation.
It was stressed the need to make fuller use of the significant potential of the OIC member countries, which have a huge market with a population of 500 million people. Based on the adopted conceptual program “Prospects of ECO – 2025”, it is advisable to further expand trade, economic and investment ties between our countries and, most importantly, achieve more significant practical results due to this.
In this regard, the urgency of adopting an updated and comprehensive Trade Agreement within the organization was emphasized. The document should include the issues of removing trade barriers, digitalization of customs procedures, as well as the introduction of electronic commerce, which is now becoming increasingly important.
The adoption of a Joint Action Plan to increase the flow of mutual investments and strengthen their reliable protection, deepening industrial cooperation between our countries is a requirement of the times.
The necessity of developing projects of regional significance and increasing the competitiveness of the economies of the ECO member countries in the world market was noted.
As a real mechanism, Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed to create a “Center for Trade, Investment and Innovation” within the framework of the Economic Cooperation Organization jointly with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Special Program for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) and place the headquarters of this Center in the city of Tashkent.
Another important area is the effective use of existing and creation of new transport corridors in the region.
The President of Uzbekistan pointed out the importance of creating interregional transit hubs, developing modern transport and road infrastructure, optimizing transport and transit tariffs and providing additional discounts, simplifying conditions for international freight and passenger traffic, introducing digitalization in the transport industry.
To implement these plans, it is advisable to develop a regional strategy aimed at developing transport and communication links and expanding the transit potential of states.
Taking into account the actualization of the global climate agenda, the summit considered issues of further transition to a “green” economy. The leaders pointed to the need for active joint cooperation in this area, including the widespread introduction of environmentally friendly and resource-saving technologies in industries to achieve carbon neutrality.
To this end, Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed creating a permanent high-level Council, including with the participation of international scientists and experts in the field of the environment.
Noting the importance of restoring tourism exchange, the President of Uzbekistan came up with an initiative to adopt a Regional Program for the Development of Safe Tourism in the Post-Pandemic Period at the next meeting of tourism ministers in the city of Bukhara in 2022. In the Program, special attention will be paid to the development of “pilgrim tourism” and other joint tourism products, expansion of the geography of air transportation, improvement of tourism infrastructure.
During his speech, Shavkat Mirziyoyev touched upon the situation in neighboring Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan is approaching a grave humanitarian crisis day by day. Alone, without the help of the international community, including its closest neighbors, the Afghan people will not be able to withstand these difficult ordeals.
Therefore, we must join forces to develop common approaches and provide the necessary assistance to the Afghan people.
We also support the consistent continuation of the implementation, jointly with Afghanistan, of large trade, transport and energy projects of regional significance, ” the President of Uzbekistan noted.
The summit also discussed issues of increasing the authority of the Organization for Economic Cooperation, the development of its institutional mechanisms and interaction with leading international structures.
In this regard, Sh.M.Mirziyoyev came up with an initiative to create a high-level Expert Group to prepare specific proposals and recommendations for further improving the ECO’s activities.
An initiative has been put forward to establish the tradition of announcing each year as the year of development of a sphere within the organization. The President of Uzbekistan proposed to declare 2022 the Year of Strengthening Connectivity in ECO.
As a result of the summit, the Ashgabat consensus for action was adopted. The document combines the key priorities of the member countries for the further development and strengthening of regional economic cooperation.
The heads of state and government, as well as the secretary general of the organization, congratulated Uzbekistan on assuming the chairmanship of the ECO in 2022.